Pilot had cocaine in system at time of fatal Scottsdale crash, autopsy finds
PHOENIX — One of the two pilots aboard a small plane that crashed at the TPC Scottsdale golf club in April, killing all six people aboard, had cocaine in his system, according to autopsy results.
The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office said a student pilot and a certified airline transport pilot both were seated in the front of the 1970 Piper PA-24, but did not disclose who was flying the plane or why it crashed.
The small plane left nearby Scottsdale Airport on April 9 and hit the ground on the Champions Course shortly after takeoff, bursting into flames.
The victims were identified as Erik Valente, James Louis Pedroza, Mariah Sunshine Coogan, Anand Anil Patel, Helena Lagos and Iris Carolina Rodriguez Garcia.
They were all between the ages of 22 and 28.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s final report on the crash isn’t expected until next year.
A preliminary report by the NTSB days said surveillance video showed the plane struggled to gain altitude on departure.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.